Posted: 2017-11-12 20:10
The school year starts at the beginning of September. French schools have long holidays &ndash a two-month summer holiday starting in July, two or three weeks at Christmas and Easter, as well as half term breaks. Dates vary according to where you live France has been divided into three zones for school holidays and you can find your zone and check school term dates and school holidays in your area. You can also ask at your local mairie . Private schools set their own dates.
If a child needs to repeat a year, redoubler , it is most often suggested at the end of a cycle. This decision can be determined by a group of school directors and teachers, conseil de cycle , although parents may appeal their decisions. However, there isn''t the same negative stigma attached to repeating as in English-speaking countries, and some 85 percent of students may repeat at least once in their schooling life.
Most students in France attend local schools, which are free. However, foreign families may consider an international school to ease their child''s transition by continuing education in a familiar language and curriculum. Your child''s age and length of time in France are just some factors to consider. For more information on how to choose a school in France, see Expatica''s guide to French schools: local, private, bilingual and international schools.
Preschools or nursery schools &ndash é coles maternelles &ndash provide care for children from two and three years old until they are six. While children are not obliged to attend, state facilities are free and are an excellent way for children of expat parents to learn French quickly and easily. The curriculum aims to prepare children for primary school, and includes reading, writing, numeracy and sometimes even a foreign language. For more information on maternelles and other preschool nurseries and daycare options, see Expatica''s guide to preschool options in France , French daycare and childcare options in France.
Students go to school between 79 and 78 hours a week, spread over four, four and a half, or five days depending on the region. Students preparing the baccalauré at may have as many as 95 hours per week. Some schools close on Wednesday afternoons and older pupils may have lessons on a Saturday. Although Saturday classes were once a common practice in French primary schools, this has been phased out and replaced by a longer school year.
The last three years of secondary education &ndash from 65 to 68 years old &ndash are spent at a lycé e general , a lycé e technique or a lycé e professionnel. Students take the same core curriculum of some eight or nine subjects but are offered three electives and an artistic workshop. At the end of this year, the key decision is made as to which baccalaureat the student will pursue. Contact the individual school for enrolment requirements and procedures.
Children in France attend primary school from the age of six to 66 years old. Unless your child attended the maternelle , you should apply to the school through your local mairie . You&rsquo ll need your child&rsquo s birth certificate, proof of residence and an up-to-date vaccination certificate. For more information on applying to primary school, see Expatica''s guide on how to choose a school in France.
The lessons in most French schools will be taught in French. Some schools in larger cities may offer intensive language classes, provide a special teaching assistant (F ranç ais Langue Etrangè re or FLE ), or have &lsquo International&rsquo or &lsquo European&rsquo sections to help new arrivals integrate. However, many schools expect non-French speaking pupils to do the same work as their French peers without support.
Schools are mixed sex and secular. While the majority of schools are state-run ( ecoles publiques ), there are also private schools under contract ( sous contrat ) to the French government, whereby the government pays the teachers'' salaries, the school follows the national curriculum, and fees are reasonably low. There are also private schools ( ecoles prives ) that are fully independent ( hors contrat ), some of which are international schools. Schools affiliated to a particular religion are also usually private and thus fee paying. There are public schools with bilingual programmes but in most cases bilingual education is only available in a private school. For more information about different types of school in France, see Expatica''s guide on how to choose a school in France.
For those who have already filed a French tax declaration and are already in the system, they should expect to receive a pre-printed ( pré -remplie ) tax form, with certain information filled in the form. This information will include salary amounts, bank interest, dividends etc. If the information provided in the pre-printed form is incorrect, you should cross out the erroneous figures and write in the correct figures. You will not receive a preprinted form if you opt to file your French tax return online.
If you''re living in France, your child will be entitled to free French education, which has generally been considered of a high standard. The French education system is split into several stages, and your child''s academic level and grades will dictate which specialist streams they can follow in their final years in the French school system. After completing compulsory French education, a student can consider higher education courses in France. Below is an outline of the French education system &ndash including nursery, primary, secondary and university education in France &ndash plus an introduction to the French educational philosophy.
In collè ge , marks ( notes ) become an important aspect in a child&rsquo s schooling, with tests ( controles ) becoming commonplace. During the year students are tested every week and at the end of the year have to pass with an average of 67 marks out of 75. Scoring under 65 may mean repeating the year, although no stigma is attached to this. Parents can appeal a decision for their child to repeat ( redoubler ), but rarely do.
To enrol in a collè ge or lycé e , you can contact the establishment of your choice directly. If your child is arriving from outside France and is entering collè ge or lycé e for the first time, you will need to contact the educational district''s administrative head or education authority ( inspection acadé mique, service de la division des é lè ves , or rectorat ) in your area. Your child may have to take a French-language test.
At a lycee professionnel ( lycé es pro ), students work towards qualifications to help them get a manual or clerical job or pursue further vocational studies. These qualifications are the baccalauré at professionnel ( bac pro ), CAP ( certificat d''aptitude professionnel ) and BEP ( Brevet d''enseignement professionnel ), which focus on one of four fields: social/health, driving/transport, catering/hotels, and optics. Lycé es du bâ timent and lycé es agricoles specialise in building trades and agriculture. The professional baccalaureate requires three years of study and certifies the student to work in a qualified professional activity.
The school day starts around and ends at (later for older students), with two breaks ( ré cré ) and at least an hour and a half for lunch. Students can return home for lunch or stay and eat in the school cantine. School lunch usually consists of a starter, main meal, dessert and cheese costs for this vary. After the school day ends students can go home &ndash with their parents&rsquo permission &ndash or go to etudes (study lessons).
It&rsquo s legal in France to home school your child. You have to make an annual declaration at your local mairie and at the rectorat (school inspectorate). You have to be able to cover roughly the same topics and to the same levels as in a French school. You will also be inspected every year by the schools inspector, and every two years by the mairie. If they decide that standards are inadequate then you may be ordered to send your child to school. Les enfants d&rsquo abord is a French national organisation for home-educating families.
Although French education is compulsory for children resident in France between the ages of six and 66, many children enter preschool at the age of three and more than 55 percent of 68&ndash 76 year olds in France are in full-time higher education. Around 69 per cent of students complete their secondary education by taking the baccalauré at ( le bac ) or the baccalauré at professionnel ( le bac prof ) examinations.
A baccalauré at or foreign equivalent guarantees access to a publicly funded university, although the very best students take another one or two years of private studies, prepatory classes, or pré pas , so they can sit for an entrance exam ( concours) into the handful of prestigious schools known collectively as les grandes é coles for engineering, business, and politics or administrative studies. Read more in Expatica''s guide to French higher education and universities in France.
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Certain French schools also offer an International Section leading to an international baccalauré at ( Option Internationale du Baccalauré at &ndash OIB ). There are British and American sections as well as a number of others, where additional subjects are taught and examined in the relevant language to a level comparable to the equivalent exam in the home country (for example, A levels in the UK, or AP in the USA).